Leaders are reflecting on Nigeria’s situation in the past 12 months and the country’s future.

President Muhammadu Buhari led the way last night, stressing that next year’s elections are not a do-or-die affair.

House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara, All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Samson Ayokunle, among others, also spoke of their vision in the New Year.

In their New Year messages to Nigerians, the leaders were united on the need to develop the nation through this year’s elections.

President Buhari promised not to back down on the journey his administration started in 2015, which, according to him, was geared towards the utilisation of the nation’s resources for the public good.

He reminded his challengers of the peace deal they all signed, saying that those peddling falsehood were on their own. The presidential election is on February 16.

Buhari said: “That is the journey we have embarked on since we came on board in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on. We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilised for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never ending quest to satisfy their greed.

“We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country.”

The President stressed that the forthcoming elections should not be taken as a do-or-die affair, adding that Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development.

He described the dawn of a New Year as a time to look forward, consider new prospects, unfold plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.

According to him, Nigeria is making steady progress in its national life and is moving from a country of potential to a country of actualisation.

His words: “It is my utmost pleasure to rejoice with all Nigerians as we enter the year 2019, which will be a very significant one for our country.

“At the turn of every year, we often use the opportunity to look back at the past and forward to the future. To review the outgoing year; its high and low points; successes and failures; and be fully thankful to God.

“We, Nigerians, are a religious people, and we believe that God reigns and rules in the affairs of men. A time like this offers precious opportunity for thanksgiving, stock taking and reflection on goals and targets set for the receding year, and how much was accomplished. The ones not done can then be rolled over into a new year.

“The dawn of a New Year is also a time to look forward. To consider new prospects, unfold our plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.”

On the forthcoming general elections, the President said: “2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders into various offices, at national and state levels.

“As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible.

“Elections need not be do-or-die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.

“Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do.

“Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.

“We have had our challenges: security, economic, political, social. But we are resolved to combat and overcome them all,” he said.

Commending the support and collaboration of Nigerians in previous years, the President said that he looked forward to same in 2019 and beyond, adding: “As I hope, you will renew the mandate you overwhelmingly gave us in 2015, for another term.

“We are motivated by nothing other than service to motherland, and service without selfishness or personal interest.

“I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015.”

“A New Year provides opportunity for renewal of commitment,” Buhari said, urging Nigerians to “rededicate themselves to the vision of a Nigeria that works for all.

“We are moving from potentials to actualisation, and it’s a task to be accomplished by us all; man, woman, young, old, military, civilian, all Nigerians.”

Dogara urged Nigerians not to despair, but look to the future with optimism and absolute faith in God.

The Speaker implored all to perform their civic responsibility by coming out massively to vote during the general elections to elect leaders who will be sensitive to their aspirations and provide the requisite security for their lives and properties.

In a message by his media aide Turaki Hassan, Dogara regretted that 2018 was characterised by unprecedented spate of needless killings, decline in the nation’s economy, unemployment, insecurity and acts of lawlessness due to poor governance.

He, however, expressed the optimism that the New Year offers Nigerians a unique opportunity to renew their faith and hope in God and the country, as well as take full control of their destiny.

The message reads: “The year 2019 presents a unique opportunity for us to take full control of our nation and our destiny.

“It is also time for us to take responsibility for our own lives, rekindle the spirit of community and strive towards making Nigeria work again in all its ramifications.

“A democratic government should always depend on its citizens to whom power belongs as the reverse will only amount to slavery. Hence, we must continue to demonstrate patriotism, cooperation, dedication and resilience in order to overcome our challenges and triumph over the forces of retrogression.

“As the 2019 general elections draw close, I enjoin us all to remain vigilant against anti-democratic forces and remain committed to enthroning a government that is sensitive to our yearnings and aspirations.

”On our part as lawmakers, we shall continue to work as the central institution of democracy through which the will of the people is expressed, especially as the nation approaches very trying times yet.”